Skip to main content

14 Useful Mobile Apps for Walking New York City

Texting and walking at the same time is wrong. Talking on the phone while strolling down the street is wrong. Leaving the sidewalk to stop and consult the information on a cellphone, preferably while alone, is OK.

What's on Walking Off the Big Apple's iPhone: A List

Walkmeter GPS Walking Stopwatch for Fitness and Weight Loss. While out walking, Walkmeter tracks routes, time, speed, and elevation. This is an excellent app for recording improvised or impromptu strolls, especially with many unplanned detours. The GPS function maps out the actual route. The app keeps a running tally of calories burned while walking, useful for weight loss goals. Another welcome feature is the ability to switch over to other modes of activity, including cycling. An indispensable app for city walkers. $4.99 

New York City Compass, designed by Francesco Bertelli, is an elegant compass calibrated for Manhattan, with indications for Uptown, East Side, Downtown, and West Side. While facing a certain direction, the letters will turn blue. This comes in handy when stepping out into an unfamiliar neighborhood from the subway. Back in the day, all you ever needed to know about New York City could be summed in the words Uptown, East Side, Downtown, and West Side. We should go back to this way again. No more contrived names for neighborhoods. When you're watching Mad Men, for example, and someone says they're going downtown, you know exactly what that means.* Free.

NYCMate, with subway and bus maps for all the boroughs, is easier to read and use than many of the other transit maps. Free.

NYC Way could be described as an app of apps, because it contains multiple applications - everything from a list of nearby restaurants to nearby public restrooms to Wifi locations to street food. Some of the restaurant information is out of date, but it's hard to keep up a current data base with new restaurants opening and old ones closing. Favorites here include the list of free things and nearby art galleries. Free.

Urbanspoon, a longtime popular iPhone app, still comes in handy when deciding upon a restaurant. With variables for type of cuisine, neighborhood, and price, Urbanspoon spins its magic and comes up with a suggested place. Don't care for the selection? Spin again, or just shake the whole phone. Sometimes, the list of restaurants is not extensive or selected eateries are squeezed into the wrong category, but at least the app helps expand a list of options for dining out.

NYC Tip, another simple app from Francesco Bertelli. Easy way to calculate 15%, 18%, or 20% tips on a meal and split the bill by up to five people. Free.

Open Table, the website that allows diners to search and place reservations for restaurants, eventually accumulating redeemable points, has an attractive app with thumbnail pix of restaurants, availability for tables by time slot, distance, pricing information, diner reviews, and sometimes the actual menu. Click on an available opening, and you're set for dinner. Free.

TWC Max. The Weather Channel 's enhanced app (Max) is most useful for times of inclement weather. The "Explore Map" function gives a sense of any precipitation headed your way. $3.99

NiteLite NYC. Charming and simple app featuring the illuminated colors of the Empire State Building with a note on the significance of the color display from day to day. $2.99

Twitter. The app from the popular social networking site. Follow the right people and institutions, and you get a terrific source of local news and timely event reminders, as well as an engaging social media site. Free.

NY Phil. From the New York Philharmonic, a handy preview of musical happenings along with music, videos, and events. On demand streaming of weekly radio broadcasts. Free.

MoMA. Useful calendar of daily events at the Museum of Modern Art, with the function to "Pick a Day" for advance planning. Also included are overviews of special exhibitions, audio mobile tours, art terminology, film schedules, and more. Free.

On the row second to bottom, notice four iPhone camera apps are displayed, including Hipstamatic and CameraBag. I'll count these as #13 and #14. I also like Format126, and Lo-Mob. These are a few of the versatile photography apps for creative image-making on a camera phone.

Prices for apps were current as of September 7, 2010.

Screenshot image by Walking Off the Big Apple. * "Downtown" in Mad Men usually signifies a lack of social convention, often manifest in its symptoms - free love, illegal drugs, anti-capitalism, and experimental cinema.

NOTE: As of December  17, 2010, Walking Off the Big Apple has been fully mobilized. Type in this site's URL address into your phone or do a search for "Walking Off the Big Apple," and find an easy-to-read streamlined version. The embedded maps, where applicable, come in handy on the streets.

Read a post just on camera apps for the iPhone.

Comments

Hi Teri,
We've got another one for you - the newly launched GPS-based app: NYC ARTS - it's free! It lets you know what 10 cultural events are closest to your current location; and what events are going on by neighborhood (all five boroughs); by category (dance, music, theater, garden, history, etc); or you can choose a specific cultural organization. The app shows events happening in the next three days. Thanks for giving it a look!
Best wishes,
Christina Knight, Alliance for the Arts / www.NYC-ARTS.org
Unknown said…
No love for Yelp? It's way better than Urban Spoon.

Popular posts from this blog

Museums in New York Open on Mondays

Please see this post for current announcements of reopenings . Please consult the museum websites for changes in days and hours. UPDATED September 23, 2020 Advance tickets required for many museum reopenings. Please check museum websites for details. • The  Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  reopened to the public on  August 27 , with new hours for the first month, through September 27: from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to the public; and from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  on Mondays for MoMA members on ly. Admission will be free to all visitors Tuesday through Sunday, through September 27, made possible by UNIQLO. See this  new post on WOTBA for a sense of the experience attending the museum . •  New-York Historical Society  reopened on  August 14  with an outdoor exhibition, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine,” in the rear courtyard. The exhibit by activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman will highlight how New Yorkers weathered the quarantine

25 Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

(updated) Sitting on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of those iconic things to do in New York City. On a sunny day, the wide steps can become crowded with the young and old, the tourist and the resident. It's tempting to stay awhile and soak in the sun and the sights. Everyone has reasons for lingering there, with one being the shared pleasure of people watching along this expansive stretch of Fifth Avenue, a painting come to life. Certainly, just getting off one's feet for a moment is welcome, especially if the previous hours involved walking through the entirety of art history from prehistoric to the contemporary. The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be a singular pilgrimage, uninterrupted by feeble attempts to take in more exhibitions along Museum Mile. Pity the poor visitor who tries "to do" multiple museum exhibitions in one day, albeit ambitious, noble, and uplift

Taking a Constitutional Walk

A long time ago individuals going out for a walk, especially to get fresh air and exercise, often referred to the activity as "taking a constitutional walk." The word "constitutional" refers to one's constitution or physical makeup, so a constitutional walk was considered beneficial to one's overall wellbeing. (Or, as some would prefer to call it, "wellness.") The phrase is more common in British literature than in American letters. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, many American commentators expressed concern that their countrymen were falling into lazy and unhealthy habits. Newspaper columnists and editorial writers urged their readers to take up the practice of the "constitutional" walk. One such essay, " Walking as an Exercise," originally printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted in New England Farmer , Volume 11, 1859, urges the people of farm areas to take up walking. City dwellers seemed to have the

The High Line and Chelsea Market: A Good Pairing for a Walk

(revised 2017) The advent of spring, with its signs of growth and rebirth, is apparent both on the High Line , where volunteers are cutting away the old growth to reveal fresh blooms, and inside the Chelsea Market, where new tenants are revitalizing the space. A walk to take in both can become an exploration of bounty and surprise, a sensual walk of adventure and sustenance. A good pairing for a walk: The High Line and Chelsea Market Walking the High Line for a round trip from Gansevoort to W. 30th and then back again adds up to a healthy 2-mile walk. Regular walkers of the elevated park look for an excuse to go there. Especially delightful is showing off the park, a model of its kind, to visitors from out of town. A stroll through Chelsea Market. Time check. If you haven't stopped into Chelsea Market lately, you may want to take a detour from the High Line at the stairs on W. 16th St. and walk through the market for a quick assessment or a sampling. Among the sampli

25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village

A list of 25 things to Do in Greenwich Village with history of protest, old cafes, and signs of change. Hipstamatic iPhone images of contemporary Greenwich Village by Walking Off the Big Apple (Revised and updated.) Flipping through  Greenwich Village: A Photographic Guide by Edmund T. Delaney and Charles Lockwood with photographs by George Roos, a second, revised edition published in 1976, it’s easy to compare the black and white images with the look of today’s neighborhood and see how much the Village has changed. A long shot photograph of Washington Square taken up high from an apartment north of the park, and with the looming two towers of the World Trade Center off to the distant south in the background, reveals a different landscape than what we would encounter today.    On the north side of the park, an empty lot and two small buildings have since given way to NYU’s Kimmel Center and a new NYU Center for Academic and Spiritual Center Life. The Judson Memorial Church

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

(updated 2016) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at 11 W. 53rd Street is near many other New York City attractions, so before or after a trip to the museum, a short walk in any direction could easily take in additional experiences. Drawing a square on a map with the museum at the center, a shape bounded by 58th Street to the north and 48th Street to the south, with 7th Avenue to the west and Park Avenue to the east, proves the point of the area's cultural richness. (A map follows the list below.) While well-known sightseeing stops fall with these boundaries, most notably Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the great swath of famous Fifth Avenue stores, cultural visitors may also want to check out places such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, the 57th Street galleries, the Onassis Cultural Center, and the Municipal Art Society. The image above shows an intriguing glimpse of the tops of two Beaux-Arts buildings through an opening of the wall inside MoMA's scu

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

(revised 2017) How long does it take to walk from Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to well-known destinations in Manhattan? What are the best walking routes ? What if I don't want to see anything in particular but just want to walk around? In addition to the thousands of working commuters from the surrounding area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island who arrive at Penn Station via New Jersey Transit or the Long Island Rail Road, many people arrive at the station just to spend time in The City. Some have questions. Furthermore, a sporting event may have brought you to Madison Square Garden (above Penn Station), and you want to check out what the city offers near the event. This post if for you.  The map below should help you measure walking distances and times from the station to well-known destinations in Manhattan - Bryant Park , the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Empire State Building , Times Square , Rockefeller Center , Washington Square Park , the High Line

At the New Moynihan Train Hall, and the Zen of Going Nowhere

After slowly wandering around the Moynihan Train Hall , opened earlier this year in the James A. Farley Post Office Building across from Penn Station, an Amtrak worker approached me and asked if he could help with directions. “No,” I replied, “I’m just here to look at the station.”  Moynihan Train Hall, between Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, 31st Street, and 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan I wasn’t taking a train anywhere, not an Amtrak train to Philadelphia or to Boston. I was here to look at this impressive, even enlightening building. The architectural design is somewhat restrained and serious. Bright signage at the Moynihan Train Hall At a time when the idea of actual travel is just picking up, for some New Yorkers like myself, just the novelty of seeing a new transportation project in the city seems to suffice. It’s like mental preparation for taking an actual trip.  Looking up I remember catching Amtrak trains at the old Penn Station, not the beautiful and monumental edifice that

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

After visiting the American Museum of Natural History, explore attractions on the Upper West Side or in Central Park. Visitors to New York often run around from one major tourist site to the next, sometimes from one side of the city to the other, and in the process, exhaust themselves thoroughly. Ambitious itineraries often include something like coffee in the Village in the morning, lunch near MoMA, a couple of hours in the museum, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry in the afternoon, cocktails at the midtown hotel, a quick dinner, and then a Broadway show. It's a wonder people don't pass out at the theater. While sitting on the steps of the American Museum of History, consider exploring the Upper West Side and nearby sites of interest in Central Park. There's a better way to plan a New York trip. Consider grouping attractions together geographically. Several posts on this site address this recommended approach. The Wild West of the Tecumseh Playground Groupin

The Marx Brothers in New York: Interlude - On Groucho Walking

This special new series about the Marx Brothers in New York continues this week, following the brothers into a career in Broadway and into the movies, but first I would like to take a little time to discuss Groucho's peculiar way of walking. Sometimes described as a "lope" or "stoop," Groucho's silly and often lecherous walk became just as an important part of his persona as his glasses, eyebrows, cigar and greasepaint moustache. He didn't walk this walk all the time, but as you recall from the films, Groucho would often bend his knees and lean forward as he proceeded from point A to point B. To imitate Groucho properly at a costume party, it's important to get this part down. • Groucho explained that it was simply a bit of inspired improvisation. From the book Hello, I Must Be Going by Charlotte Chandler, he says, "I was just kidding around one day, and I started to walk funny. The audience liked it, so I kept it in."(pps. 153-154) Chand